The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday suspended Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Hanif Abbasi’s life sentence in ephedrine quota case and ordered his release. A two-judge bench headed by Justice Aalia Neelum heard Abbasi’s bail petition against his life sentence. On June 22, 2018, a special anti-narcotics court had sentenced Abbasi to life in the ephedrine quota case.
In his petition, Abbasi stated that the anti-narcotics court had overlooked important legal points in its decision. Seven other suspects were released. The case was formed against the petitioner on political basis, the petition added and pleaded to the LHC to suspend the sentence.
Approving Abbasi’s petition, the LHC suspended his life sentence and ordered his release.
Abbasi was arrested just four days before the general election in the country last year. A former MNA, Abbasi was to contest the 2018 general election from NA-60 Rawalpindi.
The Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) had registered a case against Abbasi and others in June 2012 under sections 9-C, 14 and 15 of the Control of Narcotics Substances (CNS) Act for misuse of 500kg of ephedrine. ANF officials claimed the substance was sold by Abbasi to narcotics smugglers, who used it to make ‘party drugs. The trial had been ongoing in a CNS Court in Rawalpindi. The court had indicted Abbasi and the other accused, including his brother, in 2014.